A take direct action you are then

A consultant is
best defined as a ‘person in a position to have some influence over and
individual, group or an organisation but has no direct power to make changes or
implement programs’ Block (2011). Try not to confuse consultants as managers as
a manager is someone who has direct responsibility over action. The moment you
take direct action you are then in fact a manager. Throughout this reflective
essay I will be critically examining the theories/models used within my
investigation, analysis and the client pitch that I took part within. A scope
into my own personal role of the project will also be undertaken.

Throughout my life
there have been multiple jobs that I have had that have positively influenced
me as a person. Jobs which have in fact given me the chance to learn and
improve my own personal skills and behaviour whilst undertaking a specific role
within a workforce. Currently whilst at university I am a part time supervisor
at ‘Aspecto’ which operates within the retail industry. The present role which
I undertake had given me an advantage as a person during the group work as
there are certain skills and strengths that had influenced myself and the group
in certain ways. Just below you will find a list of skills/strengths that
positively helped my consultant group:

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Effective communication skills

Work well within teams

Great listening skills

at giving advice


Leadership qualities


Personal research
has leaded me to consider that certain strengths of mine are what are required
to be a successful consultant. Experience (2017) claim that if you possess
similar strengths to the ones that they have listed on their website, then this
is a starting point if consultancy is the career path that you would like to
venture within. The highlighted strengths in italics are the skills which that
if you possess, then they are going to be beneficial to myself as an individual
and to my consultant team. Due to them being beneficial, they became of need as
not all fellow consultants within my team possessed the same strengths as me. Bennis
(2008) believes that some of the attributes I’ve stated are ‘essential’ in
becoming a leader. Bennis believes that I posses the attributes and therefore I
have always seen myself as a leader throughout my life.

However, throughout
the strengths stated, French and Belle (1999) believe that ‘sometimes
consultants want to give advice because they wish to please the client… client
associates advice giving them competence’. Due to learning this throughout the
module, I knew that I had to resist doing this as it creates a dependency. This
in fact works against the client system developing its own resources in problem
solving. This personal strength of mine within the consultancy industry would be
a weakness as using expertise or giving advice tends to negate the
collaborative relationship between the client and our consultant team. So,
whilst planning our group work and then presenting to our client, this was
something we refrained from doing as its not acceptable.

Within our
consultancy team, there were five change agents who all shared an equal amount
of work load. It was I, Sam Scaffardi, Sam Hurley, Alex Harborne and Rob Hazelgrave.
Previous work experience from different industries and job roles allowed us all
to work well with each other with us all contributing as one. We all possessed
different strengths and weaknesses which worked effectively throughout this
consultancy process. Yet we all possessed leadership qualities, this resulted
in me thinking that we wouldn’t work well with each other. Journalist Markman,
A. (2018) believes that when ‘when groups of people in leadership roles get
together, they may have difficulty coordinating their activity’. Markman, A.
states that if there are too many leaders then they are all going to try to
lead resulting in the group failing. Within this scenario I would have to
disagree with Markman, A. as surprisingly we all worked together as one and I
felt that this was due to us knowing when to take lead and when not to. We
respected and had faith within each other.



In the build-up of
collecting information, data and then the actual decision on what we as a group
thought would be the best to propose to our client, job roles were in fact
assigned. Horner, Nadelson and Notman (1983) believe that when people are
assigned job roles ‘they tend to rate the job they have to more highly in
fulfilling primary values’. This in hindsight enabled us to be ‘efficient,
productive and boosted morale’ of each consultant. Smallbusiness.chron.com
(2018) state that benefits of assigning job roles increase all the three
benefits of that I’ve stated, this was the case within our group.















Now I’ve clarified
on how our consultancy team worked I will now go onto the process of
discovering the proposed solution / strategy that we offered to our client. As
a team we decided on following the CONSULT model for us to underpin the best
solution for our client to follow. The CONSULT model had been used by our
consult team for us to follow a step by step process for us to achieve what we
believed in for the client. Due to following this generic model it enabled us
to follow a process and for us to provide feedback to the team/client. Due to
being external consultants, this model can be used by people from outside the
organisation. It doesn’t require any internal help resulting in us using it. We
believed that this system presentation will help our client understand what we were
talking about and which it did. Newton R, (2010) states that the consulting
engagement process plays massive important therefore what we present the ‘steps
and logical so that the consultant is engaged’ to carry them out’.

Nevertheless, before we could even move forward as a team, we needed to
conduct diagnosis of our client CEBS. A SWOT analysis was the tool which we put
in practice which allowed us to see what CEBS excelled and struggled with. Ferrell
(2016) states that the SWOT analysis is ‘simple, requires low costs, flexible
tool, integration/synthesis and collaboration’. Whilst conducting the
diagnosis, the tool was useful and logical, however in my opinion the
simplicity of the tool often leads us to an unfocused and poorly conducted
analysis. We had to go over the SWOT repeatedly till we were all satisfied with
our findings. Ferrell (2016) claimed that a SWOT tool ‘allows to create a list
without serious consideration of the issues and it becomes a sterile academic
exercise of classifying data and information’.  Therefore, I would have to agree with theorist
Ferrell and if I found myself within a consultancy situation I would result in
using another tool to achieve a more efficient and reliable approach for my
client.  Just below is the SWOT analysis
that we conducted



established, been operating for over 20 years.
success (Ofsted)
range of facilities

working capital
to pupil ratio to low
resources, financial and human capital
of innovation
& operational efficiency
level of debt

of services offered
with local education centres
overhaul of existing brand
 Teacher training
distance learning 

urging schools to deal with students internally
 Continuing increasing operation costs

Still, from using the
relevant tool to achieve diagnosis and the CONSULT model for us to follow, we
decided on two proposed strategy approaches which we were best suited for CEBS
to consider. They were:

1.       Rebranding of website and public image

2.       Improve and increase relationships with
education centres

When we decided on
our two approaches we didn’t understand the financial situation that CEBS was
under. At first, we wanted to suggest to CEBS that they should invest in
revamping their public/brand image due to being dated and not very modernised,
and was going to propose to get more staff under their workforce due to them
lacking a poor staff to pupil ratio. However, once we found out and understood
what was going on behind closed doors, we had to change our method of thinking
and came up with a solution that required CEBS to use little to no money of
what they have. ‘Understanding the ways in which the different aspects of the
organisation operates/interact is important’ (Kolb, Osland and Rubin (1995).
After conducting further research on how the client operates and interacts,
this played out to be of importance, which resulted in us alternating our
approaches. If we knew this before deciding our approaches we would have saved ourselves
a time cost. The two approaches we finally came up with and suggested are only
of an implemented change as it will occur slowly and will not necessarily
modify the essence of CEBS social structure and organisational practice.

As a team we were
going into the pitch feeling confident with Rob and Sam presenting our
solutions. We felt that instead of us all contributing we would have the most
confident speakers leading the way. Rob and Sam did a great job with the pitch
and we as a team received great feedback. However, as an individual I felt as
if I should have had a part to play due to putting a lot of time and effort
into the work beforehand. Therefore, if the chance ever occurred again I would
put myself forward to present. Careerwise.ie,
(2018) state that ‘presentation skills within business are required in almost
every field’, even though this is was only a university group activity I
believe that getting as much experience now will set me up in good stead for
when I venture into the working world.

Feedback from both Asif and Andrew
Czolacz was positive. They highlighted the fact that we linked in real life
example which intertwined with our solutions and highlighted that Rob and Sam
explained our solutions well. Due to considering the following characteristics
of the client organisation, we believed that Andrew Czolacz would be able to
follow and relate to us on a personal level. Sadler (1998) states that if you
need to take into account the organisations ‘immediate needs, its financial
health, its financial requirements and aspirations and its internal politics’. This
was taken into account when taking the step by step method of the CONSULT model
and benefitted both us and the client. We believed that if we gave real life
examples who were in a situation such as CEBS then this would help the client
get more of a feel of our solutions. Another positive comment that we got back
from the client is that our presenters explained the solutions very well and
they were easily understood. This was due to us being quick and straight to the
point. We adopted the ‘Doctor Patient Model’ to conclude with, which gave the
client a set out plan to follow if they wanted to undertake work with us.  Theorists Mintzberg, Lampel, Quinn,
& Ghoshal (2014) state that the overall structure should fit to function
and meet the organisational purposes and we believed what we offered did. The
doctor patient model was as followed:

We diagnose the business to find the issues

Then prescribe two strategic approaches

Differs from expert model as we find the problems instead of them
being given to us

Client must follow up and take the prescription in order to
resolve the issues


With positives there were obviously
going to be some things that we as a team should have worked on as this was our
first ever consultancy project. Asif and Andrew Czolacz
only criticism of our pitch was that we didn’t conduct enough analysis and did
not use enough models within our pitch. We thought that using one appropriate
tool (SWOT) would be enough for collecting and analysing the situation, however
now we know have been informed that we could have provided better analysed
solutions. This module is a learning process and from that, my team will know
within the future that if we ever come under a consultancy project in our
career paths then this is something that it is vital.

Woodward and Williams (1997) believe ‘that is important to appreciate the
strengths and limitations of different models, and to learn to use them as a
means of enhancing learning’. Due to limiting ourselves to a few models this
prevented us from maximising our education within this module. Due to Asif and
Andrew Czolacz stating that we hadn’t used enough models, not only did it
prevent us from exploiting our capabilities but gave us weaker backing on our
solutions. If we used more appropriate tools and models, then I believe we
would have given a better impression on what we can offer.  I agree with what theorists Woodward and
Williams claim to state therefore it is something that I will further develop
within my life.  

this was a learning process and I strongly think that I have benefitted from
this group work. Not only had it given me the chance to develop a deeper
understanding of consultancy, but it allowed me to develop my strengths and
allow me to reflect on the weaknesses of the whole every changing process. The
module has made me realsie that the role of consultancy shows massive
importance within any industry and that it is tedious career path to venture